Got plenty of things to say, but in the meantime (because I ran out of time today), here’s something I’ve wanted to post about for a while.
See, a couple of weeks ago, I went to a fancy dinner to celebrate the year. It was organised through uni. At the dinner, between main course and dessert, we heard a talk from Nic and Lucas, the guys behind Orange Sky Laundry.
It’s a pretty awesome story about community and people helping people. As Nic and Lucas told it, they had an idea, to wash the clothes of homeless people using a mobile laundry service in the back of a van. They had a few setbacks in starting up, but now they’ve got services in different places across Australia. They’ve also started up a mobile shower service that accompanies the laundry.
Here’s a screenshot of the front page of their website, for some visuals. The real thing can be found by clicking here: http://www.orangeskylaundry.com.au/
The laundry service fills a physical need. It also fills social and emotional ones. It creates community.
The way they told the story got me thinking.
It reminded me of the connection I made for a little while with a homeless woman, who used to beg on Londsdale Street near Parliament Station. I think her name was Sally. The first time I met her, I was walking quickly towards the station from the bus stop, on my way back home. It was 2015 I think. I remember, the fact that made me pause was that she had a dog. An old corgie if I recall correctly. As I paused I listened to her telling her story to another person. Over time, through more stops, I’d hear more of it.
She was homeless due to domestic violence. She had had a pretty rough life. It seemed like life had dealt her a series of blows – her own child died young, for example. She lived for her dog; the money she got was first spent on dog-food, then on accommodation for the night, then food for herself.
She had cancer too and had been told she only had a year to live, which dwindled away as I visited.
How do I know she was telling the truth?
I don’t. Not really. But her eyes – the pain in them – I saw that. It felt real to me.
I don’t see her anymore. I haven’t done since about this time last year. I think she’s passed on.
I wonder what happened to her dog? That was her biggest fear.